TODAY: Main Society not ready, Minister says he is "not ready to move" on homosexuality

Thursday, May 24, 2007

'Main society not ready'
Minister says he is 'not ready to move' on homosexuality

Wednesday . May 23, 2007
Derrick A Paulo

If Minister of State for Education Lui Tuck Yew has his way, there will be no changes to Section 377A of the Penal Code, which makes homosexual acts a crime here. "I'm not ready to move, and I don't think a major section of society is ready to move," he said.

Rear-Admiral (NS) Lui gave his personal views yesterday at a dialogue session for the annual Pre-University Seminar at the Nanyang Technological University. The issue cropped up when a student asked RAdm Lui how the Government will reconcile "ideas and ideologies" that will be increasingly in conflict as Singapore "opens up to the world and becomes more liberal". She was referring to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's comments at a forum last month in which he said the Government is not the moral police on the homosexuality issue.

In response, RAdm Lui said: "Yes, there will be different tension points, maybe what some would characterise conservatives versus liberals. We can't be stiff-necked. We need to be open to ideas but we have to come to our conclusions through the framework in Singapore. That's why it's important to have our own deep convictions and beliefs.

"While acknowledging Mr Lee's comments on the possible genetics of homosexuality, RAdm Lui said he does not subscribe to the theory that it is a "medical condition".

"Do you excuse paedophiles or psychopaths because of a medical condition?" he asked.

He is also not swayed by arguments that homosexuality does not affect others in society, that it is just between two people. "There can be lots of relationships, like between a person and an animal, or a person and another person, but which is incestuous. There are norms in society.

"The Government will move at the pace at which society "allows us to move", RAdm Lui said.